As a dog owner, it can be heartbreaking to watch your furry companion experience pain and discomfort. One condition that can cause this is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that affects dogs of all ages but is more common in older dogs.
However, there are still treatment options that exist that can help make things less painful.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is a common condition in dogs that causes inflammation and degeneration of the joints. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving around.
As dogs grow older, the risk of developing osteoarthritis increases, but the chance is still there for younger dogs due to injury or congenital conditions.
The most common joints affected by osteoarthritis in dogs are the hips, knees, and spine. This is because these joints have to bear the weight of the dog’s body and are subject to a lot of stress and movement.
Large and giant breeds of dogs, such as Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers, are more prone to developing osteoarthritis due to their size and weight.
What are the Symptoms and Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis?
Symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs can include stiffness and reluctance to move, especially after periods of rest; limping or lameness; difficulty climbing stairs or jumping; and a decrease in activity level. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s important to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
They will perform a physical examination and may recommend X-rays or other imaging tests to confirm a diagnosis of osteoarthritis. The goal of treatment for osteoarthritis in dogs is to manage pain and inflammation and to slow the progression of the disease.
Treatment options include:
Medications: NSAIDs or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as carprofen (Quellin) are often prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation.
What is Quellin used for in dogs?
Quellin is a brand of carprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to relieve pain and inflammation in dogs. It is a prescription medication that is available in both chewable tablets and caplets.
Carprofen is a COX-2 selective inhibitor, which means that it specifically targets the COX-2 enzyme that contributes to inflammation and pain while minimizing the risk of stomach and intestinal side effects.
It is primarily used to relieve pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, and post-operative pain, allowing the dog to recover more comfortably. It is also used to reduce fever.
Your veterinarian may also recommend other medications to manage pain, such as opioids or tramadol.
Physical therapy and exercise: Techniques such as hydrotherapy, which involves using water to provide resistance and support for the joints, and laser therapy, which uses low-level laser therapy to reduce pain and inflammation and promote healing, can be beneficial for dogs with osteoarthritis.
Physical therapy can also include a range of motion exercises, such as passive range of motion and stretching, and massage. Gentle exercise, such as short walks, can help to keep the joints mobile and improve muscle tone.
Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight is important for dogs with osteoarthritis. Excess weight puts additional stress on the joints and can worsen pain and inflammation. Keeping a dog at a healthy weight can help to reduce the stress on the joints and manage pain.
With the guidance of a vet, carefully manage food portions, switch to a more optimal diet, and monitor weight consistently.
Supplements: Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can help to reduce inflammation and slow the progression of osteoarthritis. These supplements can help to reduce inflammation and slow the progression of the disease. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be beneficial in reducing inflammation and pain.
Surgery: In more advanced cases of osteoarthritis, surgery might be needed to replace or repair the troublesome joint. Joint replacement surgery, for example, can be used to replace the affected joint with a prosthetic and can result in significant improvement in the dog’s quality of life.
How Can You Help Your Dog at Home?
As a dog owner, there are several things you can do to help manage your dog’s osteoarthritis in addition to the interventions mentioned above:
Provide a comfortable place for your dog to rest: Orthopedic beds can provide extra support and cushion for dogs with osteoarthritis.
Keep your dog active: While you want to avoid any heavy exercises and strain, gentle exercise, such as short walks, will help to keep the joints mobile and improve muscle tone.
Keep your dog’s environment safe: Remove any obstacles that your dog could trip over, such as loose rugs, and make sure that your dog has easy access to their food, water, and bed.
Help your dog when needed: If your dog is having difficulty climbing stairs or jumping into the car, help them by providing a ramp or by taking the elevator.
If your dog is on the older side, stay positive but also realistic. Treatments will help alleviate symptoms, but it is more likely you and your dog will simply need to adjust and work around osteoarthritis. Try to create a comfortable experience for your dog in its daily life and avoid any activities that can cause strain.